Food-o-File

Despite our Natural Grocers fumble, readers keep tipping us off to great new eateries around town

In the off-with-our-heads department, we offer sincere apologies to the folks at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (3901 Guadalupe, 323-5100, www.naturalgrocers.com). They do indeed offer a fine selection of both fresh and frozen meats, poultry, and seafood, as well as a deli aisle with prepared foods from local companies. We regret the error. And to the angry caller who described the story as "a lie, probably phoned in by some pot-smoking teenager": The piece was actually written by a responsible adult who made an embarrassing mistake she truly regrets. We consider ourselves lucky the people at Natural Grocers were gracious enough to accept our apology and a correction... Both readers and new business owners are good sources for information about the local food business, and we always appreciate tips. Several people contacted us in distress over the recent closures of Gypsy Italian Bistro (1025 Barton Springs Rd.), Taste Select Wines (202 W. Cesar Chavez), and Latin Cafe Austin (formerly Doña Emilia's at 101 San Jacinto). On brighter notes, Delish Bakery (209 W. Third, 473-4118, www.delish-cupcakes.com) is now open to service the Downtown area with cupcakes, desserts, coffee, and other sweet treats, and we're also very appreciative for the tip that sent us to a new little family-owned spot in the campus area. After more than 20 years in New Orleans, the Haddad family moved to Austin this year to open their first restaurant, Flying Falafel & Po-boys (2001 Guadalupe Ste. A-1, 494-1400, www.flyingfalafelaustin.com). The menu features a combination of Middle Eastern and New Orleans-style specialties, and so far everything we've had has been first-rate. Mom Nuha Haddad whips up different dishes from her native Jordan as menu specials every day – be sure to drop in on Thursdays for Mensseff, a dish of fluffy rice and toasted pine nuts in a tangy yogurt sauce topped with tender chicken ($9.99) or succulent lamb ($11.99) – truly marvelous! The other new Middle Eastern spot we're hearing about is Tarbouch Lebanese Grill and Hookah (534 E. Oltorf, 326-2001, www.tarbouchfood.com), where Lebanese chef Paul Nader is preparing classic dishes from his homeland. We haven't made it in there yet, but we can't imagine a location with better inherited vibes than the former home of Texicalli Grille... Fans of the delicious handheld vegetarian pies from Boomerang's Gourmet Veggie & Meat Pies (3110 Guadalupe, 380-0032, www.boomerangspies.com) will be pleased to know they are now available at both local Whole Foods Markets. Popcorn fanciers can now purchase their favorite snack from the Cornucopia Popcorn trailer in the 1600 block of South Congress Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 9pm... While you're watching the on-camera ramblings and elimination challenge snafus in the Food Network's culinary reality competition series The Next Food Network Star this summer, do you find yourself thinking "I bet I could do a better job than that"? If so, here is your chance. Casting producers from the Food Network will hold an open casting call in Austin this month looking for chefs, line cooks, home cooks, caterers, or food enthusiasts who are "passionate about cooking and knowledgeable about food" as potential contestants for the 2010 season of the program. Show up at the Hyatt Regency Downtown (208 Barton Springs Rd.), Friday, July 17, 10am-4pm, and show 'em what you can do!

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Food-o-File, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Delish Bakery, Flying Falafel & Po-boys, Tarbouch Lebanese Grill and Hookah, Boomerang's Gourmet Veggie & Meat Pies, Cornucopia Popcorn, The Next Food Network Star

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